Does Cinnamon Keep Cats Away?

Does Cinnamon Keep Cats Away

Cinnamon keeps cats away because they find its strong and spicy smell very overpowering. However, some cats actually like the smell and may show interest in it by licking and eating it. You should not allow this to happen since while a small amount does not harm, more than that could cause vomiting, coughing and diarrhea. It can also irritate the skin or oral cavity and cause allergic reactions in some cats. 

Cinnamon is an aromatic spice that has similar notes to nutmeg and ginger. It comes from the bark of trees and is popularly grown in Indonesia, China and Sri Lanka. It has a distinct woody and spicy smell and is widely used for cooking, baking and as an ingredient in tea and coffee. 

Cinnamon oil and extract are dangerous for cats since they can cause damage to a cat’s skin, eyes and mouth. Cinnamon contains coumarin, a compound that a cat’s digestive system cannot break down, resulting in toxicity and allergic reactions. The best option to use cinnamon in keeping cats away is with a cat spray repellent.  

Here are two ways to make a cat spray repellent:

Cat spray repellent 1 

Step 1.  Mix two tablespoons of cinnamon, lavender and rosemary in a pint of boiling water and leave it overnight. 

Step 2.  Strain the mixture carefully through a cheesecloth and add half a cup of vinegar and a dozen drops of tangerine essential oil. 

Step 3.  Place the spray repellent solution in a spray bottle, give it a good shake and spray in areas where you do not want your cat to go such as the couch and kitchen counter. You can also spray this in your garden or front yard to deter stray cats from coming near. 

Step 4. Reapply daily and after it rains or after cleaning for optimal results. 

Cat spray repellent 2 

Step 1.  Mix water with one teaspoon ground cinnamon, one teaspoon black pepper, one teaspoon mustard powder, one crushed garlic clove and three to four drops of lemon essential oil. 

Step 2.  Mix them all and place the solution in a spray bottle. 

Step 3. Spray liberally in areas where you want to keep cats away such as the surface of fences, along the ground or on nearby plants. This will keep cats from destroying plants and doing their business in your garden soil. 

Is cinnamon essential oil bad for cats?

Yes, the cinnamon essential oil is bad for cats. According to the Pet Poison Helpline website, essential oils are concentrated and cats may become ill if they come in contact with it. 

What spice will keep cats away?

Dried spices like rosemary, cayenne pepper, lavender and dried mustard keep cats away because of their strong odor.  Fruit peels like lemon and orange rinds can also keep cats away when placed in the garden or your yard’s border.  These spices and peels can also be placed near plants and cupboards.

Other smells that keep cats away 

Aside from cinnamon, here are other smells that cats hate:

  • mint 
  • banana 
  • plants like thyme, geranium, rue and pennyroyal
  • dirty litter box 
  • household cleaners 
  • citrus or citronella 

What are some alternatives to cinnamon to keep cats away?

Here are some alternatives to cinnamon to keep cats away:

  • coffee grounds and pine cones placed on the ground or in your garden 
  • commercial cat deterrents like PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Pet  Deterrent
  • motion detecting sprays or sprinklers 
  • ultrasonic pest repellers 
  • by planting lavender and prickly plants in your garden 


Cats are adventurous creatures but sometimes their curiosity can be too much to handle. Cinnamon is a good cat deterrent if you want to keep your cats away from the kitchen counter, couch or your plant collection.  It keeps cats away because it has a strong, potent and overpowering spicy aroma. However, it could be toxic to cats if eaten in large amounts and it is more advisable to use it as a spray deterrent. 

Image: / Derkien